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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

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as education was concerned, the task of the reformers who were
the pioneers in this second renaissance was immensely more
difficult than that of their predecessors.   The latter had found a
comparatively simple solution for their problems by going back to
the past and seeking to adapt all that was best in it to the needs of
their own times.   But the reformers, even when in sympathy with
the general trend of the Renaissance, had a vision of something
better on before, which made it impossible for them to be quite
satisfied with a reversion to the past.   They were more or less
conscious of possibilities in human nature, to which the knowledge
and ideals recreated from ancient sources of wisdom failed to do
complete justice.   They wanted an education differing to some
extent both in subjects and methods from any past education.
But the wider knowledge of man and the universe which they
aspired to bring within the compass of the schools was only in
process of discovery, and the significance of the scientific method
on which it was to be based was still very imperfectly compre-
hended.    In the same way the conceptions of free personal
development which made the humanistic schools as objectionable
to some of them as the medieval schools had been to the humanists,
were bound up with ideals of social and political life which were
still in most respects remote from realization.   There could be no
great freedom in education so long as the promise of freedom born
of the Reformation remained unfulfilled in civic and national life.
For the beginnings of this forward-looking movement we have
to go back to the first years of the Sixteenth Century, about the
time when the classical learning was establishing itself trium-
phantly in the schools of Europe, and events were moving towards
the rupture of the Church.   In this early phase the antagonism
between the alternative views of education was still for the most
part not very pronounced, and, save in France towards the close
of the century, there was no overt conflict between the old and the
new expressions of the Renaissance spirit.    In Italy, indeed,
where the new movement, like the old before it, had its birth, the
transition from the one to the other was so easy as to be almost
imperceptible.   The outstanding feature was a greater insistence
on the claims of ordinary life, and the consequent need of an
education for the young layman who was to be neither clerk nor
Scholar, but man of affairs and good citizen.   Behind it was the
semi-pagan desire for a full, well-rounded secular personality,